Sophia: A Celebration of the Wisdom of the Women of MTSO
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Transcript of Sophia: A Celebration of the Wisdom of the Women of MTSO
Celebrating the Wisdom
of the Women of MTSO
About the Front Cover:
Sophia () is a female name derived from the Greek word for "Wisdom. Photo taken by: Laura White at the Association of Arulagam in Tamil Nadu, India. The Association of Arulagam (House of Grace)- Arulagam is a Tamil word which means grace. The Association of Arulagam accepts women who are sexually abused, rejected by society and their families. The womens center creates a space where women and children can be accepted and enabled. In January of 2012, the cross cultural group from MTSO were honored to visit the center and meet some of the women who live and work there. While there the MTSO students learned that a perimeter wall on the property was in need of repair. The crumbling wall was causing security and privacy issues for the residents of the center. MTSO students were able to provide the necessary funds for the wall to be repaired.
About the Back Cover:
Illustrated by: Sarah Wells, friend of MTSO and employee of
Worthington Christian Village.
Marion Correctional Institute for donating time and resources for the printing of the hard copies. Nicole Pickens- for lessons in formatting. Shirley Nyhan- for help with proofreading and editing. The Women of CL/CE 275- for various acts of assistance! Rev. Dr. Lisa Withrow, Lauren Dennis-Bucholz, Sara Hill, Mary Kerns, Jeeyong Kim, Claudine Leary, Jenni Meyers, Whitney Prose, Stepheny Ransom.
Table of Contents:
Forward page By: Laura White 4 Womens Manifesto By: CL/CE 275 Sp 13 5 Community By: Nancy Shute 6 A Prayer By: Lauren Dennis-Bucholz 10 A Journey of Infertility By: Jenni Meyers 11 Faith By: Linnette Wise 14 My Call as a Licensed Local Pastor By: Teresa Smolka 15 Cute Shoes By: Carol Williams-Young 18 Afro-Mexicana
By: Racquel F. Welch 19 We Are Baptised By: Emily Cannon 20 A Sacristans Prayer By: Deborah Caulk 21
Mizuko Kyou () and the US Abortion Debate By: Whitney Prose 22 The Continuous Call By: Sara Hill 24 A Collection of First Person Narrative Sermons By: Mary Loring 25 With Ease By: Betty Bennington 33 La Patita Fea By: Racquel F. Welch 34 It can be tempting to return to the comfort of our old skin By: Grace Welch 35 Clergy Spouses Unite By: Ray White 37
The Complexities of Pantyhose behind the Pulpit!
By: Laura White
I am not sure when it first happened, that moment of realization that I will forever be known as
the lady pastor. It must have snuck up on me like a soft whisper. Or perhaps it was there from
the very beginning and I simply refused to see it. The only thing that I know for certain is that it is
there now and no matter how hard I try to ignore it, it will not be silent.
Ive never seen a lady pastor before these were the words of a very kind teen boy. His words
came after I had officiated at a very long, rainy and windy graveside service. It would be the last graveside
services that I would I naively wear high heels and a long flowing skirt to officiate in. Thankfully, no one saw
the less-than-graceful fall which occurred when I stepped out of the hearse, my heel sinking in the mud
causing my body to propel forward down the steep ditch and landing headlong into a tombstone.
That was also the day in which I discovered the true beauty and strength of women in
community. One look at their disheveled pastor (now back at the church) and the ladies who had been
cooking the funeral dinner came to the rescue, cleaning up my appearance and my bruised pride. It was the
compassion of Sara (all names have been changed) which would leave the most lasting impression. Sara was
the widow of the former pastor. Her husband had been a pastor at the church for close to ten years and he
had passed away the previous winter. Sara laughed and giggled with me joking about how her husband had
never had to deal with pantyhose behind the pulpit. Her compassion and empathy that day calmed my frayed
nerves. It is the memory of this moment which has continued to calm my frustration as I navigate the realities
of being the lady pastor.
It was this moment that helped me to answer a male colleague when he complained about the fact
that the district clergy women met for a monthly breakfast. He wanted to know why we had to have a special
time apart if we want to have equal rights. I looked at him and said, We need this time apart to discuss the
complexities of wearing pantyhose behind the pulpit. My strange sense of humor was lost on my colleague
but not on his wife who smiled and winked at me.
The truth is that our monthly clergy women breakfast provides us with a community which
provides strength for the journey. It was my sisters in ministry who helped me to figure out what to do with
the pulpit microphone which is made to clip onto a tie or a collar and the other end which must be placed in
a pocket (two things that most of my girl clothes do not have). They also agonized and laughed with me
over the concern of my congregation that the tone of my voice was higher than my predecessor, making it
difficult for older members to hear. I still have not managed to lower the tone of my voice but somehow we
muddle on. My sisters in ministry shared similar stories when I shared my frustration after a dcom meeting in
which a colleague was concerned about the feminization of the church because I had used dancing as an
analogy for faith in the sermon which I had submitted.
It is in the sharing of the story within the community that we find our strength and solidarity. It is my
hope that as you read the reflections, articles, sermons and poems in the following pages that you will find the
comfort and strength that you need to amplify your own voice in the world.
We, the women, declare that God created all humans with intrinsic worth. God calls us to rise and fully live as God our Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer intends.
We craft this manifesto recognizing it is incomplete and must be updated by those who
follow us. We recognize that no written document can represent the living reality of a
o We recognize that gender is defined differently in all times, places, contexts, among
individuals, and even in an individuals daily life. We stand in solidarity with the
female sex throughout these transitions. Naturally and socially constructed gender
differences are a reality and should be used to complement one another rather than
We are beautiful, but we are not for display, for sale, or as sex objects.
We are h